Friday Face/Off: Star Wars
Georgi (bravely going where no man has gone before):
This is a stunningly controversial take and, I fear, one that will make fan-boys heads explode, but I think the later Star Wars are better than the earlier ones. There. I said it. This is coming from a person that likes films, ok? I’m not a gamer, I don’t wear the head of Darth Vader to secret pop-up clubs in Shoreditch, and I don’t need Princess Leia in a gold bikini as some sort of cinematic Viagra. I have no soft spot in my cold dead heart for the original trilogy. It’s creaky, dusty, and we all know of my general disdain for Harrison Ford.
David (secretly likes The Wanted):
Episodes I,II & III are better than IV, V & VI? Sorry? Are you sure you want to put that on the table? Fan-boys aside, this opinion would see the most schooled of Star Wars types cheekily cock a brow in confusion. It’s on a par with suggesting that since The Wanted are newer and less ‘creaky’ and ‘dusty’ than The Beatles they are therefore ‘better’. It’s an exhausted debate as to whether the modern trilogy offer any value to the overall franchise – I for one will argue to the point of madness that whilst Episodes I,II & III do offer something by way of entertainment, they will NEVER be as good as the original trilogy. State your case, Ford-hater.
How can it be an exhausted debate when all anyone says is, “oh, yah, the original Star Wars is, like, sooo much better because of dialogue…and, erm shit…” ?? The writing of George Lucas is about on par with a sea cucumber’s in EVERY MOVIE, not just the new ones. I admit he took Yoda doing his whole turny-sentence thang a bit far, especially in Attack of the Clones, but you can’t hear: “Around the survivors, a perimeter create” without chuckling quite a lot. Plus, the new ones have political allusions. Democracy turning to dictatorship, a politician trying to increase his power so he can start a phony war… Bush’s international ultimatum after 9/11 was “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Anakin Skywalker’s schtick was, “If you’re not with me, then you are my enemy.” Significance much?
Your praise of the more recent trilogy is based on the notion that they have deep political allusions!? But the original trilogy makes one of the most interesting subvert allusions to a reinventing of American warfare EVER: The all-conquering super power that is the Empire (USA) attempt to crush the Rebellion, a small but well organised band of guerrilla fighters (Vietcong), yet rather than squashing them with their superior weapons, money, men and combat skills, the small force are victorious.
And the Western World lapped it up without batting an eyelid. Clever, clever George. And yet, I wouldn’t fly the flag of the original trilogy because of its political message – young and old continue to flock to it because it’s the best myth of Good vs Evil that the modern era has ever produced. Whilst IV, V and VI will remain timeless, Episodes I, II and III already feel dated.
No movie in which a grown man wears a toga can be timeless, a piece of fact that dates back to Ben Hur and the ever homo-erotic Spartacus. The hatred of the new Star Wars films comes from nothing more than an ingrained fondness from watching the original trilogy at age 5, a time when I thought Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men was the absolute shit. You were young, there were Ewoks, you got confused and thought they were your mum..…I understand. I’m not trying to make the claim that the new Star Wars is good, don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying that out of six films that call themselves ‘space operas’, I’d rather watch the three where you can’t see strings coming out of the Deathstar.
Let’s talk about Ewoks. Yes, they were a bad, BAD idea. The entire defences of the Empire’s most powerful super weapon becoming unstuck by some cuddly teddy types? Come on George, don’t be a silly twat now. However – and this is a biggie – whilst the Ewoks might be the blot on the otherwise shapely face of the original trilogy, it is in no way comparable to the tumour that pulses under the surface of the new trilogy: yep, that’s right, Jar Jar F*CK-ME-GENTLY-WITH-A-CHAINSAW Binks. Oh the humanity. If we’re going to have a go at the series for pandering (or Ewoking? Panda, Ewok – bear word play?) to the needs of the younger audience, then Jar Jar takes the bloody biscuit – and with it, the entire reputation of the franchise.
It’s been a long while since I heard a good Heathers reference. Whilst trying to find some sort of reasonable defence for Jar Jar Binks, I found that he’s voiced by a lovely man called Ahmed Best who has an acid jazz group called, ‘Jazzhole’, which surely must act as some sort of placatory snack? No? As much as old grubby men called Barry would like us to believe that Star Wars is for adults, the franchise is basically for kids, and kids love Jar Jar Binks. I pretty much sounded exactly like that when I was little, minus the Jamaican accent, and I really don’t think anyone under the age of fourteen hears him and thinks ‘annoying’ – he’s sort of like a reverse teenager whistle. I was going to make an argument for him representing a minority, but then realised that would essentially put him in the same category as that stupid Jamaican lobster in The Little Mermaid. Actually, that’s a ridiculous argument to even think of making…argh.. move me back off dangerous waters Otter!
I was worried where that one was going. How about I drag us both to a somewhat ‘mutual’ safe ground: George Lucas essentially killed his own creation, and if we’re honest, it wasn’t with Episodes I, II and III. All that the newer trilogy would seem to establish is that George shouldn’t be left in charge of writing the story and screen play, and then directing his own precious love child – whilst he managed to achieve all this beautifully with Star Wars: A New Hope, it was a one off, and it’s all been downhill from there – other creative masterminds stepped in to help expand his universe in Episodes V and VI, but when George decided to do it all off his own back with the new trilogy, he had already beaten far too much magic out of the franchise. There were the Special Editions, the Remastered Editions, and now the Blu-Ray releases, all to be followed by the re-launch of the whole bloody lot of them in 3D. No matter which side of the trilogy argument you stand, you have to admit that George is thumping his creation with a massive stick, to see if any more money could possibly drip out.